Abstract

We define and study precision and consistency criteria for spectral phase interferometry for direct electric-field reconstruction (SPIDER), an interferometric technique for the characterization of ultrashort optical pulses. Precision quantifies the similarity of different estimates of the electric field reconstructed from a single experimental data set. Consistency is a measure of the match between the reconstructed field and the data. These powerful experimental criteria allow one to monitor the fidelity of the reconstruction of the electric field from the experimental data by tracking systematic errors and random noise. Because of such imperfections, such criteria are necessary even for pulse characterization methods based on a direct algebraic inversion. In the case of SPIDER, the redundancy of data in each interferogram and the principle of shearing interferometry allow simple calculation of the precision and consistency measures.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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